Quantcast

My 1911-380 issues, troubleshooting, progress

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by lordfarquaad, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. lordfarquaad

    lordfarquaad Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Messages:
    43
    So here's the short version of my situation, which I'm posting mostly to gather the experiences of others to see what my outlook for a resolution might be. My first post here...

    Chapter 1:

    Bought the full-size black label, blued with G10 grips from Zanders (I'm an FFL). Was cleaned, went to the range, and seemed to have a couple issues with mags and/or the gun itself. Mainly a FTF on the 6 or 7th round, which would result in either a nose up jam, or the LIVE 7th round being ejected along with the spent 6th round, or both.

    I tested with both factory mags and one spare I purchased in order to troubleshoot. I tested with 4 kinds of ammo, from Browning to S&B to Freedom Munitions to some crappy Perfecta. All same results, regardless of mag and ammo.

    On top of that, I realized that when inserted forcefully with the slide open, the first round would fly right out the top----every time. And I wasn't even pounding it home.

    Solution to this phase of the story was that I sent it back to Browning. After a few weeks, they called and said they had made the call to replace the entire gun.

    Chapter 2:

    They sent me a fresh firearm, returned my three mags, and gave me a new firearm with two new mags.

    Went back to the range and the issue with the first round flying out the top on mag insertion was indeed fixed. Never happened again. However, all other issues persisted, with the most common one being that when ejecting the 6th round, the 7th would fly out with it. Occasionally, though, the 7th round would still do a nose up jam.

    At this point, I was able to acquire another full size 1911-380--the one with the stainless slide and nice wood grips. Seemed to be a bit better, but still showed the same issues---ejecting live rounds and having nose-up jams.

    At this point I called Browning to discuss before sending anything in. The guy agreed it sounded like a mag issue, so I sent him 4 of my now 7 magazines (I saved three to troubleshoot) and they will replace once they get a shipment in, within 30 days. Apparently they are on backorder?

    Chapter 3:

    At this point is seems clear that my current issues are mag related. Could be wrong, but with 2 firearms (3, counting the one they replaced) it seems to make sense. Why all 7 mags would have it doesn't speak well for Browning, however.

    I've read that a possible solution is to close the feed lips. With 2 of the 3 magazines I retained, I did just that, very carefully, and in increments, all the way down below the lowest recommendations I've seen.

    This did seem to fix all nose-up jams. That hasn't happened in a long time. But the firearm is now very effective at ejecting the 7th round live along with the spent 6th.

    Conclusion:

    At this point I've spent far more time---and waaaay to much on ammo---than I probably should have spent trying to get a new firearm working. I'm going to sit tight and wait until the 4 replacement mags come back from Browning. If my replacement firearm still has the issue with the new mags, I'll probably send it all to Browning for another round of troubleshooting. I'm just not up to it anymore.

    My question to others:

    When Browning sends me the 4 "new" magazines, will they look any different from the originals? Does anyone here know what they've changed? I assume that this will actually be a tweaked design, since there is no way all 7 of the mags I acquired just happened to be out of spec in the same way.

    At any rate, I'll be sorely disappointed if they just send me 4 magazines that are identical in design to the first ones.

    Any other thoughts on all of this would be appreciated. I'd love to hear from someone who had the same issues and whose story has a happy and satisfied ending... Or someone who has one of these firearms that ran great out of the gate, with various ammo types, and is very satisfied after a lot of rounds.

    PS:

    Does anyone have experience with the "Browning Owners" forum? I posted this info there, verbatim, in the 1911-380 forum, and was banned a half hour later with a nice, all-caps explanation saying "TOTAL DISREGARD FOR FORUM RULES...BANNED." A bit overzealous, but oh well.
     
  2. sgt127

    sgt127 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2003
    Messages:
    1,230
    I can barely read your post. It's dark grey on black. I just want to see what my response looks like.
     
  3. Kano383

    Kano383 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    East Africa
    I've been intrigued by the 1911-380, which looks to be a great idea... if it works. So I'll keenly follow this post, and learn from your misfortunes and the way they are resolved. :D Please keep us posted.

    BTW, I went to read the rules on the browning owners forum, and can't see where you sinned if you just posted this same thing, verbatim... Heavy handed moderation, by an overzealous mall cop, or biased forum?
     
    Merle1 likes this.
  4. wally

    wally Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Messages:
    13,043
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    Usually ejection of a live round is too weak a magazine spring for the recoil impulse, the round where it happens depends on where the spring upward force minus the weight of the bullet stack and friction are minimum. If the new mags you get don't fix it, see if Wolfe has "extra power" magazine and/or recoil springs for it.

    Is this .380 pistol blow-back or tiling barrel?

    Have you let other shooters try it? My friend had a Glock 42, it seemed to work for me, but stove-piped for most everyone else who was less experienced. All auto loaders require a certain level of grip strength so you effectively add mass to the gun with your grip to reduce the recoil energy that bounces things around.

    My friend has one, she is of very small stature and it seemed to function perfectly for her, so I think there is hope for you.

    I rarely find gun specific forums useful as they seem dominated by fanboys and shills.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  5. lordfarquaad

    lordfarquaad Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Messages:
    43
    Thank you to everyone who has responded so far, and thank you wally for the explanation as to what might be happening. I'm really hoping the new mags do the trick, presumably by way of a stronger spring.

    Regarding the action, I understand it to be a locked breech, linkless, tilting barrel. Of course, I'm not an expert and could be slightly mistaken, but I know that this was one of the advantages it was supposed to have over the RIA "Baby Rock" 380, which is blowback.

    I'll also reach out to Wolfe, although I've read in older posts on other forums that they don't offer support for this firearm yet.

    Thanks again, and I'll post updates as they come.

    And regarding the Browning Owners forum, I did go ahead and send an email to the admins, explaining my confusion. It occurred to me that the tacky ban message could have been auto-generated as a result of a brand new user, such as myself, posting a very long post right off the bat. I could see a spam bot picking that up and auto-banning me as a result. So maybe they aren't at fault. We'll see what they say.
     
  6. wally

    wally Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Messages:
    13,043
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    One thing I forgot to mention, is sometimes new magazines need some interior finish to wear off before they function 100% as the fresh surfaces can have some extra friction or bind a bit.

    Take one magazine load it and unload it a few times, not in the gun! Use your thumb or the fat end of a pen etc. to strip the rounds from the magazine. This can help "wear it in" and save some ammo. Do one mag (perhaps the "worst" one) 15 or 20 times before your next outing and see if it helps.
     
  7. zaitcev

    zaitcev Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Messages:
    386
    The 1911-390 uses a modified Browning action with a linkless cam and locking into the ejection port. So it's more like Hi-Power than 1911. Attached is a picture of it field-stripped.

    brwng_1911380_strip.jpg
     
  8. Steve in Allentown

    Steve in Allentown Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    Messages:
    107
    Wally is right on the money with his diagnosis and suggested actions.

    If this were a full sized 1911, my additional advice would be to slow the rearward movement of the slide by putting in a flat bottom firing pin stop and a heavier than normal mainspring. I don't know if such things exist for the Browning.

    I wonder if Wolff sells heavier magazine springs that would fit your magazines even though they're not specifically made for the Browning. I've been able to replace OEM 1911 magazine springs with those from another manufacturer to cure inertia feed problems like you're having.
     
  9. zaitcev

    zaitcev Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Messages:
    386
    The magazine spring in this magazine extends outside of the magazine body and activates the side stop. You can even see it in the picture. Because of this unusual feature, you cannot just throw any old spring into the magazine. It has to have this kink in the topmost turn. I don't expect Wolff to make one any time soon.
     
  10. lordfarquaad

    lordfarquaad Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Messages:
    43
    I saw that sticking out and wondered how unique it was, as I'd not seen it on other 1911s.
     
  11. lordfarquaad

    lordfarquaad Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Messages:
    43
    zaitcev:

    Since you seem to have experience with these, can you say how yours ran out of the box and is running today? No similar problems?
     
  12. zaitcev

    zaitcev Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Messages:
    386
    Mine runs reliably with both original and additional magazines (they are all factory magazines). It is possible to make the topmost round fly out if one slams the magazine in and the slide is open. It never happened to me, but my wife does it sometimes. I think the magazine lips are too short. In addition, the ejector is set too far forward in my unit, and unfired rounds cannot be ejected, should one wish to unload. But there are no issues with feeding and ejection when shooting.
     
  13. Gun Master

    Gun Master Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2012
    Messages:
    2,472
    Location:
    Wolf River Bottoms
    I like 1911's. A reduced .380 ACP sounds good. Enticing, yes ?
    From the responses I deduce that FN/B has produced some good fruit, but needs some time to hone it down to nearly perfect.

    In the meantime, for those who want just one .380, I'd say go Bersa Thunder or BT Concealed Carry.
     
  14. dtwalters

    dtwalters Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Messages:
    4
    A year or more ago I also was banned from the "Browning Owner's forum. The reason listed was "spam". The only thing that I had posted was a question about my Browning 1911-22, certainly no spam. I tried to contact an administrator a couple of times with no response. I just checked again and I'm still banned.
     
  15. zaitcev

    zaitcev Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Messages:
    386
    It's for the best, really :) Get a load of this guy dispensing wisdom in the 1911-380 section:

    browning_forum.jpg
     
  16. lordfarquaad

    lordfarquaad Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Messages:
    43
    zaitcev: Great to hear yours runs well. Looking forward to getting mine there. One more question for you... Do you stick with a particular brand/type of ammo? Or do you feed it all kinds? If a specific type, what?

    I'm also unable to cycle live rounds (just by racking the slide) in any of the (now 3) pistols I've used, which makes me think it's part of the design and not an anomaly. I can get the round out of the chamber easily if I turn it on its side and rack it gently, but don't even think about trying to rack it forcefully, expecting the chambered round to fly right out the top. Only works with spent casings.

    Regarding my own saga, I received notification from Browning that 4 new mags are coming tomorrow via UPS. Looks like I'll be doing some experimenting this weekend...
     
  17. zaitcev

    zaitcev Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Messages:
    386
    It had trouble with PDX1. Seems okay with any ball ammunition, including Winchester with blunt noses.

    I made a video on the topic and one commenter wrote that he filed the ejector back until the rounds started to clear. I didn't dare to do that.

     
  18. wally

    wally Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Messages:
    13,043
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    What is going on at FN/Browning? They don't see potential major issues with a gun that won't cleanly extract & eject an unfired round from the chamber?
     
  19. DPris

    DPris Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    5,112
    These pistols are, just for clarification, not made by either FN or Browning.
    They're manufactured by ATI in Salt Lake City, for Browning, at the same plant that makes the Buckmarks.
    Denis
     
    huntsman and zaitcev like this.
  20. wally

    wally Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Messages:
    13,043
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    Could be and doesn't really matter, the fault lies with the designers not the sub-contractors making it to their specs.

    If its an ATI design and FN/Browning is only a name being sold to them for marketing purposes, how could they let their good name be used on a gun that won't extract and eject loaded rounds?
     
  21. lordfarquaad

    lordfarquaad Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Messages:
    43
    wally and zaitcev:

    While I have you both here, I'll ask another question, although not as pressing.

    What about casings hitting me in the forehead? Noticed this primarily with lighter loads in 2 of the pistols I was testing.

    My first thought was that its new and needs broken in, but keep in mind that this was after a couple hundred rounds of troubleshooting when I opened a box of the lighter loads.

    Is the solution to just shoot heavier loads? Hope not, since I have another order of PMC 90gr coming in the mail...
     
  22. zaitcev

    zaitcev Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Messages:
    386
    It occurs very rarely on mine. I also have a Glock that does it sometimes. Never gave it much thought.
     
    cfullgraf likes this.
  23. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    8,014
    Location:
    East TN
    I also have a 1911-380. While I do not have many rounds through it, 150-200 or so, it has performed flawlessly with round nose bullets. I don't shoot much else in a 380 ACP.

    Cases eject and land in a nice pile a few feet away.

    Because of comments in this thread, I tried to see if the top round would pop out of the magazine when it was inserted. I could make the top round pop out but boy did I ever have to RAM (capitalized for effect!) the magazine home.

    With what I consider normal handling and inserting the magazine, the top round always stayed in place. I only tried with one magazine though.

    Also, there is limited room in the gun to eject a loaded round. For mine, even round nose bullets hung up. The slide does travel a fair distance past where the ejector hits the case so it could be shortened a little. But, I would not do that until I researched replacing the ejector and the availability of a replacement.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
    zaitcev likes this.
  24. DPris

    DPris Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    5,112
    Wally,
    I made the clarification for those who may think Browning actually makes the gun.
    Browning makes nothing, everything with the Browning name, trademark & logo is either contracted out or licensed out.

    That said, this is the first I've seen on any forum describing the problems you're finding with the little 1911.
    It's annoying, but occasional lemons are an inescapable facet of the manufacturing world & it sounds like Browning is trying to work through it with you.

    It may take time.
    Should it happen? Ideally, no.
    Does it happen? Obviously, yes.

    A buddy has one, loves it, his wife loves it, no problems whatever.
    Denis
     
  25. Steve in Allentown

    Steve in Allentown Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    Messages:
    107
    The usual cause of this is an extractor that is losing control of the empty case as the slide moves rearward. This results in the case not being ejected properly and as it floats in space the rearward rushing slide contacts the case at the front of the ejection port and bats the case straight back at you.

    It could also be that the case is being ejected too low and is contacting the lower edge of the ejection port which can cause the case to pop up into the path of the rearward rushing slide. Once again, it gets batted straight back at you.

    Check very carefully around the edges of the ejection port for brass smears indicating contact with the cases.

    There is a very common test for determining the condition of your extractor.
    • Insert a fully loaded mag into the pistol
    • Chamber the first round
    • Remove the magazine from the pistol
    • Point the pistol down range and pull the trigger
    • Observe the flight of the ejected case

    Rinse and repeat for the remaining rounds in the magazine.

    If ANY of the cases fall down though the empty magazine well or the ejection pattern is all over the place, your extractor needs some attention.

    Internal extractors are the easiest to work with and modify. I don't know if your .380 has an internal or external extractor.

    Here's a link that you may find of some interest: https://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=829865
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice